Hoopla Impro Newsletter

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Previous Guest Teachers

Hoopla have been home to loads of different guest teachers from  the crème de la crème of the impro/comedy community. Here are some of their details, we’ll be getting many of them back to do more soon and remember you can always contact us if there is a particular teacher you want us to get in.

Katy Schutte

Musical Impro, Saturday 10th April 2010, The Bedford, Balham

Long Form, 18th - 19th September, The Cavendish Arms, Stockwell

Katy was the one of the first people to ever teach Steve impro and in fact she was actually in the show with The Maydays in Brighton that was so bloody good it inspired him to try it himself and persuade Edgar to join him.

Katy joined The Maydays improvised comedy company five years ago and won Best Comedy Show at the Brighton Festival for Mayday! The Musical in 2007, so she knows her music.

Katy has studied improvised comedy at Second City and IO in Chicago. For the last year she has been working on the 2-woman show Katy and Rach which has broken new ground and received great reviews.

Katy joined The Treason Show team in February 2008 and enjoys writing and performing in the Bafta Nominated company doing satire.

Kevin Tomlinson, Mask Workshop, Sunday 4th October 2009,

Scene work and Long form Workshop, Saturday 18th July 2009,

Thursday Sessions, 2008, The Bedford.

Kevin has spent the past decade working extensively with Keith Johnstone in both the UK and Canada and has become an expert in teaching masks, long form, and other areas that don’t seem to get covered much in the UK.

Kevin’s current show ‘Seven Ages’ was created with the help of Keith Johnstone and won 5 star reviews at last year’s Edinburgh Festival and went on a global tour.

Kevin has a charming teaching style that gets you going to deeper places in a fun and caring way. He makes normally complicated concepts seem simple and creates a really positive workshop.

Kevin has taught long-form improvisation with Hoopla, half-masks, full-masks, commedia and physical comedy.

Adam Oliver, Fooling Workshop, Sunday 16th October 2011.

A fresh and fluid style of improvisation where the performers are turned inside out and the stage becomes their inner world.

In this day long workshop you will learn the basics of Foolish improvisation, a unique structure for creating characters, scenarios and performances using everything you know and everything you don’t.

The structure holds open the door to your inner world and allows you to enter and fully inhabit it with your fellow players and the audience. Using this structure you may find yourself playing the God of jam, an amoeba with a walkie-talkie or a lost child with equal conviction and depth.

We will look at the different states of 'play', 'a play' and 'the play' and learn how to move between them to bring depth into our performance.

He has spent four years training with Jonathan Kay and a further year touring Europe in the Nomadic Academy of Fools. He performs on the comedy and cabaret circuits and appears regularly at festivals including Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party and Buddhafield.

John Cremer

John was the first ever person to teach impro to Steve Roe from Hoopla, and inspired a lifelong passion for improvisation.

John teaches in a flowing way, encouraging improvisers to get out of their heads and genuinely improvise instead of following a list of rules.

John first learnt improvisation from the legendary Louis Anthony Russo in Arizona. After returning back home to Brighton in 2001 he founded The Maydays and has enjoyed years of successful workshops, shows, and corporate training ever since, creating a vibrant impro scene across the UK.

He recently spent time in Chicago learning more from Chicago Improv Assoc and The Annoyance Theatre and continues to push boundaries in improv.

He really brings the best out of people. John is an expert on reading people, so gives you what you actually need in the moment - rather than a set of predetermined impro exercises.

John will be focusing on being bold and unedited, to find the original thrill and fun of improvising without rules getting in the way.

John is a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association and was voted Speaker of the Decade by the Academy for Chief Executives.

He’s also the author of two great books “Improv” and “Reading People”.

Music Box, Improvised Singing and Improvised Musicals.

Music Box regularly run guest workshops on improvised singing with Hoopla. You don’t need any singing experience whatsoever.

Music Box actors and musicians lead sessions on improvised singing, musical scenes, musical structures and improv musical shows.

Again, you don’t need any singing experience whatsoever and you don’t need to be any good at singing.

Long Form Narrative with Brent & Marc from Montreal Improv, 16th - 17th March 2013

Brent & Mark of the Montreal Improv Theatre took us through a 2-day intensive course on longform narrative improv.

We learnt how to create compelling heroes & fascinating villains. Also we learnt about what information you need to put at the beginning of your story so you can find an exciting ending.

At the end their was a showcase performance of people on the course at Hoopla’s Improv Comedy Club.

Brent & Mark are improvisers, actors and writers who perform, teach and coach at Montreal Improv. Mark is a director of both the Montreal Improv Theatre and the Montreal Improv Festival. Brent is the co-creater and co-star of The Bitter End web series which was hailed as "the funniest Canadian sitcom of the year" by the Montreal Gazette and "comedy series of the year" by EYE weekly. Now entering their 7th year of collaboration, they have performed Easy Action for the past year in Montreal and have travelled to perform the show in Vancouver, Toronto and London.

Their show Easy Action is a two-man improvised action/comedy blockbuster created in the moment.

Allan Marriott

A huge amount of the London improv scene originates from the work of Alan. He is the founder of The Crunchy Frog Collective, where he used to run regular weekly workshops that inspired people like Dylan Emery (Showstoppers), Pippa Evans (Showstoppers), Cariad Lloyd (Austentatious), most of the teachers at Hoopla, and even Eddie Izzard, Alan Davies and more.

He also founded Grand Theft Impro, one of London’s best and longest running improv shows.

He also founded the first London Theatresports and created and played in numerous different impro formats including Hamlet Improvised, Impro Lear, Impro Lab (London's first 2 act improvised play), The Impro Musical, Lust Boulavarde (a improvised soap opera), and Impropera (a 2 act improvised opera).

He’s also performed in The Comedy Story Players, The Reduced Shakespeare Company and is the voice of Bob the Builder in the US!

Alan is the author of improv book Genius Now.

Alan got his first taste of improvisation with Vancouver Theatresports where Alan worked closely with (among others) Colin Mochrie and Ryan Styles.

After twenty years living and working in London, Alan now makes his home in North Vancouver British Columbia, but is back in London for this series of workshops.

The Penny Dreadfuls, Impro to Script Workshop, Sunday 24th January 2010, The Rag Factory

The Penny Dreadfuls met in 2002 performing and directing impro with The Improverts, Edinburgh University’s resident impro troupe.

They then moved on to write and perform sketch and narrative comedy together. Their first show at The Edinburgh Festival, Aeneas Faversham (2006) proved to be a hit. Their style of Victorian themed comedy continued with their follow up shows Aeneas Faversham Returns (2007) and Aeneas Faversham Forever (2008).

These shows achieved almost 30 five-star reviews between them and a number of awards including Best Comedy Show at the Brighton Festival in 2008 and the Three Weeks Editor Award for excellence in 2007, and went on to tour the UK.

They then went on to record two excellently reviewed radio series, The Brothers Faversham, on Radio 4 and BBC 7, as well as appearing on television.

Jay Rhoderick, 26th and 27th June 2010, The Rag Factory and The Bedford.

Jay has been performing and teaching improvisation for 17 years. He was a faculty member of Chicago’s world-famous Second City Theatre before moving to New York to found his acclaimed improvisation groups Burn Manhattan and Centralia.

He is the president of Bizprov, a corporate training consulting firm that uses the core principles of improvisational theater in custom designed workshops, and also teaches regularly at the People's Improv Theatre in New York.

Jay's workshops draw on physical acting, clowning and Commedia dell'Arte traditions, as well as myth, Vaudeville/Music Hall, comic books, and New York-style long-form formats to teach highly inventive, authentic improv-acting.

We were lucky enough to have Jay for a two day weekend workshop, with lots of new techniques including movement on the Saturday and Commedia on the Sunday.

Rob Broderick, Thursday Sessions, 2009, The Bedford.

Winners of Hackney Empire New Act of the Year 2010. Rob Broderick’s group Abandoman create hilarious musical hip hop sketches at lightning speed live in front of their audience.

The project sees frontman Rob and multi-instrumentalist James Hancox reinventing hip hop in a way that appeals to even its most ardent detractors.

The group have already supported diverse acts such as Tommy Tiernan and US hip hop band, Atmosphere, and have played festivals such as Bestival on the Isle of White and Truck Festival in Oxford and a wide variety of venues and nights from comedy clubs like Tattershall Castle to music venues such as La Scala in London.  

In January 2010, Rob and James began a weekly residency with BBC6, providing comedic songs to the Chris Hawkins Breakfast Show.

Chicago Improv Associates, Zen Prove Thursday Sessions, 2009, The Bedford.

Zenprov is the brainchild of Marshall Stern and represents a novel way of viewing Improv through the lens of Zen thought while also viewing Zen and Life in general through the unique lens of Improv.

Nancy Howland Walker joined him in creating a full six-level curriculum for Players Workshop of the Second City in 2001 based on Zenprov.

They have a regular Zenprov podcast at cia.libsyn.com.

Nancy is also an expert in musical impro, as she is the creator, producer and director of the critically acclaimed MUSICAL! The musical, the first two-act completely improvised modern Broadway style musical, which opened in 1998 at the Royal George Theatre, and has had runs in Boston, Nashville and various theatres across the US.

This was an awesome workshop, and inspired us to invite more guest teachers to come and share their knowledge.

Gary Schwartz, Spolin Theater Games Workshop

One of the pioneers of improvisation  who worked extensively with both Viola Spolin (author of "Improvisation for the Theater" the seminal text of the improvisational theater movement) and Paul Sills (the original director of Second City).

"Gary is a terrific teacher." - Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simson).

"Viola had genius and she shared it. Gary Schwartz continues to share her genius with integrity." - Valerie Harper.

Gary Schwartz the foremost teacher of Spolin Theater Games. He is the only teacher endorsed by both Viola Spolin and Paul Sills (original director of Second City), pioneers of modern improvisation.

Spolin’s Theater Games are simple, operational structures that are each built upon a specific focus or technical problem. The games have a liberating effect for the player. There are games to free the actor’s tension, games to cleanse the actor of subjective preconceptions of the meaning of words, games of relationship and character, games of concentration - in short, games for each of the areas with which the growing actor is concerned.

But it’s more than that: The skills learned in improv class are ultimately life skills. The games heighten sensitivity, increase self-awareness, and develop confidence. Best of all, it’s fun!

This workshop explores theater games in depth and will polish your improv skills on all levels. This class will deepen your ability to improvise on all levels.

"Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater...  If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever they choose to learn, and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach them everything it has to teach. "Talent" or "lack of talent" have very little to do with it."

- Viola Spolin, "Improvisation for the Theater"   

Theater Games are the foundation of Improvisation, and the word play is at the core of all theater. The ability to play is ours from birth. We lose the connection for play in many ways as we make our way through life. Play is essential! It fosters connection, inspiration, cooperation, and acting skills -- and it is easy and fun to do.

Work in a fun and playful atmosphere, and connect with your real talents for spontaneous play and real connection between you and your fellow players. It’s great for beginners and accomplished actor alike. These skills will help you access and refine your natural talents for the stage and beyond.


This workshop is open to players of all levels. It is a good opportunity for veteran improvisers looking to expand creatively with a new approach AND It is also great for newcomers wanting a solid foundation to begin a study of improvisation.



"Gary Schwartz is a gifted player and coach. He has a thorough understanding of my work.” - Viola Spolin (Author of "Improvisation for the Theater" the seminal text of the improvisational theater movement).


"Gary Schwartz was very close to Viola for years, and one of her best students. I've had him in several workshops now and find he's the best side coach around, including me." - Paul Sills (son of Viola Spolin and creator of Story Theater and co-founder of the Second City Improv troupe)

"Viola had genius and she shared it. Gary Schwartz continues to share her genius with integrity." - Valerie Harper

"Gary is a terrific teacher." - Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simson)

"Gary's work is crucial for any actor who wants to work in the Theater or on Camera. He is a great teacher who knows what the golden keys of Improvisation are and can hand them to you if you will take them. He changed my performing life." - Richard Brestoff, The Camera Smart Actor’s Lab – Seattle WA.

"I highly recommend Gary Schwartz's Spolin Workshop. Whether you are an improvisor, actor, experimenter; advanced, beginner, dabbler ... This workshop will be fun and expand your toolkit. Gary's teaching is encouraging and he creates an environment where it is easy to play." Molly Lyons, Director Greenwood Acting Studio, Seattle.


Gary Schwartz is an award-winning, TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master teacher of improvisational acting whose 30 years as a performer and improv teacher has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, both on- and off-screen.

Gary was mentored by Viola Spolin herself. He studied with and then taught for Ms. Spolin in Los Angeles for 15 years. He is the only teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, the original director of Second City, Paul Sills.

He is co-founder and director of The Spolin Games Players, a group of established actors performing Improv in Los Angeles since 1988. The L.A. Times called the show "brilliant and exhilarating."

Gary has pursued a dramatic acting career, highlighted by his performance in the award winning film, Quest for Fire. Recently he appeared in White Face an independent short film currently airing on HBO. On television, Gary has a co-starring role on Emmy winning Zoobilee Zoo. As a voice actor Gary has worked with Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, Kenneth Branagh and many other well-known directors.

Today, Gary is a passionate, dynamic improv coach and facilitator. He is the founder of Improv Odyssey, an exciting approach to changing the way people work and play, entirely based on Spolin’s techniques. He also created Intuitive Learning Systems (www.intuitivelearningsys.org) whose purpose is to promote the work of his mentor; offering workshops for professional and aspiring actors and educators as well as conducting special workshops for business, to enhance communication and creativity in the workplace.




Tuesday 23rd January 2018.


7pm - 9:30pm.


The Kobi Nazrul Centre

30 Hanbury Street


E1 6QR


Liverpool Street.